Arrive Alive

Involuntary

WHAT IF MECHANICAL FAILURE CAUSES THE CAR TO STOP?

Involuntary stop

What do you do when your car suddenly stops? Reach for your cellphone, certainly. Meanwhile, it's always a good idea to try to find the fault. If the breakdown is accompanied by clanking noises, or if some of the wheels have locked up, then it's most likely a serious problem. If there was no noise then there's a good chance that something small has gone wrong.

The first step is to take a good look under the bonnet for broken wires, a broken fuel pipe or any other obviously broken or leaking component. If there's no obvious fault, then you can swing into action by performing the following checks:

  1. What does the fuel gauge show? Running out of fuel happens to everybody occasionally.
  2. Check for a high-tension spark. Remove one of the plug leads and hold it close to a metal part of the cylinder head while somebody else winds the starter, with the ignition switched on. Ensure that you are not touching any metallic part of the plug lead, or you may get a nasty shock, literally. You should see an intense blue spark, if it's weak and yellow, or if there is no sign of a spark, inspect the rotor arm underneath the distributor cap, ensuring that it is not broken, or worn out. Also check that the carbon brush in the center of the cap is making contact with the rotor arm. If these items are in good condition, look at the low tension side.
  3. The low-tension wire runs from the ignition coil to the side of the distributor. It is a thin wire that often breaks off just where it enters the distributor. If it is intact, and if the car has an old-fashioned distributor with points, then you should take the distributor cap off and open the points slightly with a screwdriver while the ignition is switched on. A small spark should jump as you open the points. If the spark is visible then you can normally assume the low-tension side is fine, but if it is absent then there is some malfunction in the wiring. If the points are open when you remove the cap then you have to rotate the engine by means of the starter until they're in the closed position, before you try to open them.
  4. The last check is to make sure that fuel is reaching the carburetor. Remove the top part of the air cleaner, and see if fuel squirts into the carb throat when you move the arm attached to the throttle butterfly.

These checks will normally locate a significant portion of the causes of roadside stoppages.

Tips provided by CARToday.com/CAR Magazine

Search Road Safety Articles

Latest Pages

Blood Pressure, Driver Fitness and Safe Driving

Blood Pressure, Driver Fitness and Safe Driving

Introduction In some crash reports, we are informed that the driver lost control of his vehicle after suffering “a medical episode”. This most often includes having suffered a heart attack, stroke, fainting etc. In this section, we would like to investigate how blood pressure impacts

Read More

Road Trauma and Trauma Counselling for Road Crash Victims

Road Trauma and Trauma Counselling for Road Crash Victims

Introduction More than 14,000 people died on the roads of South Africa in 2017. These are only the official road fatality numbers and do not refer to the tens of thousands who are mutilated, injured physically or left traumatized! Even though we find included on the Arrive Alive website information

Read More

The Trucking and Freight Industry and Trauma Counselling

The Trucking and Freight Industry and Trauma Counselling

Introduction We all experience trauma at some stage in our lives. It may be the loss of a loved one or being involved in a traumatic incident such as a road crash, hijacking smash and grab etc. This may have a very negative impact on how we continue to live our lives and respond to negativity and

Read More

Road Rage

Road Rage

Defining Road Rage Road rage is referred to as “incidents of angry and aggressive driving”. It is defined as an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger/s of one motor vehicle on the operator or passenger/s of another motor vehicle or is caused

Read More

The Child Pedestrian and Blind Spots Around Trucks

The Child Pedestrian and Blind Spots Around Trucks

On the Arrive Alive website, we share information on defensive driving behavior and sharing the roads safely with other road users. This includes the need for an alertness to specific high-risk areas and threats such as the blind spots around vehicles. The risks of blind spot driving are increased

Read More

Trauma Counseling and Road Crashes

Trauma Counseling and Road Crashes

Background Information Trauma can be defined as a bodily and/or mental injury caused by an external agent. When a person encounters a traumatic experience, he/she becomes an injured person that suffers from physical and emotional wounds. The word “Trauma” is derived from the Greek word

Read More

Load More Pages

Partners

View All